Relocation of Mosques

The Chinese government is helping people with various religious beliefs remove from the city more than 30 mosques, churches and temples from the Three Gorges Reservoir area, officials said.

And despite the process all religious activities are still going smoothly and orderly in the area, they added.

Li Imam still brings dozens of Muslims to conduct their religious activities during the Day of Jumah at a mosque in Wanzhou District of Chongqing municipality. The 100-year-old mosque will be flooded within the next two years.

A new mosque will be built next year in the central part of a new city which houses resettled residents from the Three Gorges Area, local sources said.

The ongoing massive Three Gorges Project involves the relocation of over 1 million people and 100,000 buildings, including 30 religious buildings.

The Chinese government has set up a special organ to oversee the relocation and earmarked 10 million yuan for the construction of new religious buildings for more than 150,000 religious believers in the area.

The government has consistently advocated the freedom of belief, and at the same time, religious people are also encouraged to participate in the country's construction.

Jia Zaiyun, an official in charge of religious affairs in Wanzhou, said that the government has helped selecting locations for religious buildings and leasing land, and all taxes involved have been exempted.

Li Imam said that the new mosque not only will be built in the Islamic architectural style, but will also be seven times bigger than the original one.

Chongqing has 80 percent of the area that will be submerged by the Three Gorges Reservoir when it is completed around 2009. Of the 30 religious buildings 20 will be moved out from Chongqing. They include four mosques, seven Catholic churches, five Christian churches and four Buddhist temples.

More churches will be built so that followers of the different religions living on both sides of the Yangtze River can easily conduct their religious activities.

The State Administration of Religious Affairs has mobilized religious institutions across the country to support the relocation of religious buildings in the Three Gorges Area.

Meanwhile, a special organization has been set up to monitor the use of the donated funds for the relocation, which will be completed in two years.


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